LA FIESTA DE LOS VAQUEROS

Riding it out together

For bronc-busting Wright brothers, it's all about family
2010-02-27T00:00:00Z 2014-07-08T16:12:54Z Riding it out togetherPatrick Finley Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
February 27, 2010 12:00 am  • 

I work with my brother and enjoy every second of it, but I know there are limits.

Which is why, upon meeting Cody Wright and his two saddle bronc-riding brothers Friday, I asked the following question.

After traveling together since last July Fourth, and on pace to do 100 rodeos in a year, when was the last time one brother punched another?

"In the face?" Cody Wright said.

He smiled.

Honestly, he said, brothers Alex and Jesse spent the entire drive to the Tucson Rodeo punching each other. In the family truck with a camper attached, they played a license plate game that resulted in plenty of slugging.

Cody, the more mature 2008 world champion, was driving.

"Double 8, double 7, sandwich, yellow, cruiser, bruiser - I don't get it," he said.

On the way from San Angelo, Texas, around midnight Thursday, the three stopped the camper at the Flying J truck stop in Deming, N.M., about 215 miles away.

Alex, Jesse and Cody each crawled into bed, one on the top bunk and two more on the ground level, and caught a nap.

"It makes you feel like you're at home when you're with family," Cody said.

The sleeping arrangements have been worse. The Wrights grew up in a noisy household of 13 children in the aptly-named Hurricane, Utah, and later, two hours away, in Milford.

The boys were born into the sport.

Bill Wright poured concrete, and didn't tell his boys about his past life in the sport until Cody found his old gear. Evelyn taught school.

The boys stayed four to a room.

"You try to go to sleep when it was quiet sometimes," said Jesse, 20. "But it wasn't happening, usually. You had to turn on the radio."

There were seven boys and six girls - Shelinda, Jake, Laurlee, Calvin, Michaela, Monica, Spencer, Catherine, Rebecca and Stuart.

Six of the seven boys - all but 12-year-old Stuart - are Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association members.

Jake, Jesse's twin and two minutes older, is a rookie rider who didn't qualify for La Fiesta de los Vaqueros. He went home for the weekend.

"He likes us," Cody said, "but not that much."

Entering Friday's event, Jesse was No. 10 in the world. Cody was 16th, and Alex 39th.

The Wrights have joined together for a reason.

Jesse, the 2009 saddle bronc rookie of the year, said they share scouting reports.

"You get to see more horses," Jesse said.

Then there's the annoyance factor - a big deal when you're spending two-thirds of your life on the road together.

"If they're doing something you don't like, you can tell them," said Cody, 32. "Even if they do get mad at you, they have to get over it. They're your brother."

Jesse said he "never" tires of his brothers - and has a rooting interest.

"I want them to win, too," said Alex, 22. "But if I can beat them, I'm fine."

Friday, none qualified for Sunday's top 12 saddle bronc finals. Jesse was thrown from Night Moves after 4.6 seconds. Alex scored 76 points on Big Iron.

Cody had the most bizarre experience of the day. His first ride ended in an equipment failure, and his re-ride was delayed because the horse was too ornery.

Finally, with the crowd of 8,300 mostly in the parking lot, Cody scored a 76 on Smoke Signal.

The Wrights will keep moving, and Cody likes it that way. If his sons - Rusty, Ryder, Stetson and Statler - ever go into rodeo, he hopes they travel together.

They would take care of each other.

Cody remembers being a rookie and too broke to buy a sandwich. He doesn't want anyone else in his family to have that feeling.

"You felt a long way from home, but not if you've got somebody right there who's got five bucks," he said.

"It doesn't seem like you're so far from home when you've got your family with you."

IF YOU GO

• What: 85th annual La Fiesta de los Vaqueros Tucson Rodeo

• When: Today and Sunday

• Where: Tucson Rodeo Grounds, 4823 S. Sixth Ave.

• Admission: $16 to $26 per day unless otherwise specified

• Parking: $5 per car

• Online: tucsonrodeo.com

Schedule

• Today: 12:30 p.m. (Gates open at 11 a.m.) ProRodeo at 2 p.m.

• Sunday: 12:30 p.m. (Gates open at 11 a.m.) ProRodeo at 2 p.m.

See results on Page B11

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